Indonesia is made up of 17,500 islands, of which 6,000 are inhabited. Nusa Penida is one of these many islands that can be found amongst the hotchpotch of tropical paradises in South East Asia. A small island in comparison to the rest, but the size of this island only emphasises the sheer beauty of this little island. Home to some rare native bird species, this island is one of most lush and fertile lands in the area and is a perfect setting for an adventurous day out.
Located in the straits of Lombok, Nusa Penida holds some of the most pristine beaches you are unlikely to find anywhere else in the region. These beaches are tucked away near magnificent over-hanging cliffs which makes them pretty difficult to get to. However, fear not, as this makes it unlikely you will be sharing the beach with anyone else, making it well worth the sweat. This place is full of hidden gems, such as an area called Angels Billabong, a natural pool of turquoise colour in between limestone cliffs, that comes right out to the open water. The terrace-like pool overlooks the entire bay and when a swell in the water is present, it comes right up into the air over the terrace wall. Manta point, Broken beach, Seganing waterfall, Pura Gunung Cening are just some of the many other sites that you can visit.
Without any air strips on the island, Nusa Penida is one of the easiest islands to get to by sea. This makes it a prime destination for both local and foreign tourists, but luckily there is never a high volume of visitors at one go, therefore when exploring the island you feel very in tune with the local community and nothing is overpriced or exploited.
The best way to get here would be by catching the ferry from Sanur in Bali. There are two other options that are over an hour long ferry rides, whilst the ferry from Sanur takes only 35 minutes and runs twice a day.
When it comes to lodging, there is a great selection to choose from no matter what budget you are on. The island is not over run by resorts, in fact there is only one 4-star accommodation and the rest are boutique style and traditional island style accommodations, which in my opinion helps preserve the island’s beauty and tranquility.
All in all, the Balinese Hindu communities live simple lives from subsistence agriculture, fishing, seaweed farming and eco-cultural tourism in coastal and remote, inland villages. Make no mistake however, you will need almost a full day to go out on a boat to explore the coastal formations and dive into hard to reach coral gardens.
To top all this though, you will get a chance to chill in Manta Bay where you will find dozens of large manta rays hovering underwater in crystal blue waters. This would be my top choice activity for Nusa Penida, there is nothing like being in the water amongst these magnificent creatures that seem like they come from another planet.
Until next time, let the world be your playground.
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Marc Casolani